Author Chris Manion with 10 Tips for the Book Publication Journey

Today’s interview is with Chris Manion, author of God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul.

Chris has 30 years’ writing and speaking experience and is passionate about using her God-given talents to help audiences worldwide overcome obstacles to their relationship to God or their leadership skills.

How do you keep yourself motivated to write?

First, I had to finally claim the vocation of writer as my own. That took a while, even though I’ve known I could write since my teens. I wrote newsletters and motivational speeches throughout my 26-year career in direct sales, but never considered that writing in the commercial sense. When the concept of my book formed in my mind, I forced myself to write on a piece of paper “I am a writer.” That was a little scary because it was a new skin I was walking in.

My motivation to write came from my mission. I work for God. His instructions were to “Go and teach all nations,” and specifically to me, to describe the experiences He was giving me. If I don’t write what God teaches me, I view myself not doing my job, not using the talents God gave me. And the parable of the talents makes clear how to please the Master. That parable has clung to me since I was quite young and aware of all the talents God has given me. I take it seriously and personally.

That said, the devil loves to sow seeds of doubts in writers’ minds, especially those writing of God’s work and love. I joined a few writer’s groups. which helped, but I finally realized I needed Christian authors around me to encourage my work, understand the movement of the Holy Spirit, and pray with me through the obstacles Satan kept placing in my path. I formed a local chapter of Word Weavers since I could find no Christian writing group in my area. That creates an accountability and deadline to produce something new for their critique at our monthly meeting.

Beyond that, I am a member of online communities like the Beautiful Writers Group and Shelley Hitz’s Author Audience Academy, which puts me in the company of other writers and their experiences and goals. Being naturally competitive, that keeps me going. If they can do it, I can do it, is my usual thinking.

Attending writing conferences puts me in touch with published authors, editors, and agents. Hearing how they struggle, seeing that they doubt themselves, too, helps me feel more comfortable as a writer. And motivates me!

What did you learn—good and bad—through the publication of your book that you’ll apply next time?

I like this question. Thanks for asking it. I learned many good lessons.

  1. I learned that it helps to find someone you’re comfortable working with as a publisher or virtual assistant if you’re self-publishing. It’s a stressful bit of work pushing out your first writing child. I hear it’s similar with the next two to three books.

  2. It is worthwhile to pay for editing. I paid for both a developmental editor who looks at the overall story arc as well as your voice and POV, a copy editor who checks grammar, syntax, and sentence structure, and a proofreader, who checks the typographer’s work before it goes to press. I was amazed at the number of corrections, all good, that each step produced.

  3. Sending out ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) of the book before editing the typographer’s work brings in much-needed testimonials and book blurbs that will help sell the book. I sent mine out three months prior to my anticipated publishing date.

  4. The devil does not like Christian writers and will try to trip you up endlessly. I’d never experienced such spiritual warfare before and found it necessary to create a prayer team to support me through the final months.

  5. Getting book reviews is not easy. It’s best to work with people who’ve written them before. It seems like 1 out of 20 who say they’ll write one actually do. Author Marketing Club has a very cool tool that searches books similar to yours on Amazon who have reviewers’ emails or contact info available. You already know they like books similar to yours and that they write good reviews. Use only the ones who wrote 4-5 star reviews.

  6. Beta readers give invaluable feedback, especially if you ask them to answer some specific questions as they read your early drafts.

  7. I worked best when I had an outline of the content of each chapter written out, especially when I decided to rearrange the order of the chapters to keep readers’ interests piqued. I pinned my chapters’ outlines to my corkboard wall. Others use PostIt notes on a crescent-shaped hill representing the story arc. I’ll probably do the next one on Scrivener’s corkboard.

  8. No one cares about your book as much as you do. I found errors every step of the way by choosing to carefully review each person’s work (cover designer, editors, typographer, publisher, printer) and proofread, even though I couldn’t imagine how anyone could screw up such simple tasks so clearly communicated. Ha! In the future, I’ll always proofread, aloud and slowly.

  9. How show-don’t-tell makes for a much better read for the reader. It is more work, but the readers’ enjoyment is the ultimate goal.

  10. Ask other writers to critique your author bio and book description. Objectivity is almost impossible.

What a terrific list! I’m sure it will be very helpful to my readers. What marketing strategies have you used and what ones have been the most effective?

I’ve used a book launch team, book signings in bookstores, press releases, an author website with a book promotion page, social media banner and author Facebook page, Instagram, Pinterest (although I have more to learn in using this search engine), Twitter campaign, speaking engagements, and a bookstore calling campaign to increase book placements in independent bookstores. I’ve donated books to my church’s gift shop which continues to increase readers as those books get passed around and visitors buy them.

I’m about to do my first Goodreads book giveaway and record my audiobook. I’ve submitted the book to several contests, promoted it on several online book marketing sites, and done a 99 cent discount sale to boost Amazon rankings. I’d promote that better next time, as well as improve the materials I give to my book launch team.

My most effective marketing has been speaking before crowds of people who knew me or of me.

What advice do you have for writers concerning marketing their books?

  • Always keep in mind how your book answers a reader’s needs or desires and market toward that need.
  • Try new venues beyond bookstores. Get as many people reading your book as you can, in any way you can.
  • At book signings, ask passersby if you can autograph a book for them.
  • Create additional products to support the book besides bookmarks and business cards.
  • Create bit.ly or tinyurl.com urls for your book on Amazon and B&N. Use these on your business cards and Twitter tweets.
  • Create your Amazon author page.
  • Get a few videos of yourself reading your book, or others reading a chapter or intro. Post these on social media. Hone your craft as regularly as we used to sharpen pencils.

Marketing is about partnerships between you and other merchants helping customers get what they desire or need. Keep those relationships thriving and active.

Chris, such great advice. I particularly like that last statement about it being a partnership. Thank you so much for sharing your insights and lessons learned with my readers. I know they’ll put use a lot of this information.

God’s best with God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul and every book that comes after that.

About Chris Manion

Chris Manion has 30 years’ writing and speaking experience that includes her memoir, newspaper/magazine articles, and blogs; conducting leadership retreat weekends, workshops, emceeing fundraiser events, conference and motivational speeches. Happily married for over forty years, Chris is passionate about using her God-given talents to help audiences worldwide overcome obstacles to their relationship to God or their leadership skills.

Connect with Chris at:
ChrisManion.com/
Facebook
Twitter: @ChrisManionbook
Pinterest

About God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul

Book Cover God's Patient Pursuit of My Soul“YOU MAKE TIME FOR WHAT IS IMPORTANT.”

In her compelling debut memoir, Chris Manion explores spiritual lessons
and gifts she received while growing a twenty-million-dollar sales team.

Since childhood, Chris felt a longing for a more personal relationship with Jesus. After resisting and following God’s call for years, she found herself on a bench deep in the woods one day, where suddenly everything changed.

Available on Amazon.

 

Want to get published but don’t know where to start?

Maybe you have a finished manuscript or just an idea stuck in your head. Email me today at Deb [at] DebraLButterfield [dot] com, and let's discuss how I can help you reach your dream of publication.

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